March 12

Age Graded Running – Win a Race … Even When You Don’t Finish First?

The age graded running system, is used to adjust actual finish times to a relative performance. A handicap adjustment based on age and gender - where after the adjustment, first can become last, and last can become first! Making it a fun way to for anyone, any age or gender to compete with anyone else. 

The one with the highest percentage being the winner!

Age grading uses tables of "age factors" and "age standards" to put all runners on a level playing field regardless of age and sex. In particular, they allow runners' performances, no matter their age, corrected to what they could have achieved in their prime years and allow valid comparisons between people of different ages.

These tables use the fastest recorded time of the same sex and age runner for track and road events. From the tables, you're able to compare your performances over various distances from 200 meters to 200 kilometres. 

For the average runner, who may never even win an age-adjusted race, these tables can provide another element to your running. Using the tables, you'll have a fun and reliable way to compete with yourself by tracking your relative performance.

As your running improves, you may feel that you want to know how you match against your peers—seeing where you fit on the world stage!

       >100% = World record level

       > 90% = World class

       > 80% = National class 

       > 70% = Regional class

       > 60% = An athlete

Age graded running tables.

The World Association of Veteran Athletes created these tables in 1989. With regular updates since then, the last update made in 2015.

You can find these tables at the following sites; Masters Athletics and Running Fastr

Besides seeing where you rank, you can also calculate the times you need to achieve a particular age-graded performance threshold. 

Age graded performance levels.

For example, the world record for a 53-year-old woman running a 10km is 35:32. So if a 53-year-old woman finishes a 10 km run in 47:35, she has an age-graded performance of 74.7%. This performance is calculated by taking the world record time of 35:32 and dividing it by her time of 47:35. This performance is considered excellent as anything over 70% requires a lot of talent or dedication, or probably both.

The use of age-grading tables allows older runners to compete on even terms with their children or anyone else, either younger or older. 

Over the last few years, age-related performances have become more recognised. In many running clubs today, the age-graded champion earns as much, if not more, recognition than the outright winner of an event.

In addition to using age grading to compare performances across different ages and genders, the tables can track performance over time; identify best events; set goals for current and future years, and identify your best relative performances. They are also a predictor of how you might perform in a different distance race. Also, based on your age-graded performance.

Parkrun, an international organisation that coordinates free, weekly timed 5k runs in about eight countries and over 820 parks worldwide, reflects all their results using this index.


Age related grading has added another dimension to the past-time or sport of running. They create another comparison level and a fun way to compete against yourself and win even when you don't finish first!


health and wellbeing, running, walking

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